“Don’t be afraid of why you are here my angel, be afraid because you are here,” the old woman says with a wicked laugh as she skilfully glides the knife across the steel, working its blade into a fine point. “It’s an art form,” she says with a wink. “I’ve been doing this longer than I care to remember, and if the blade isn’t sharp enough it ain’t gonna cut through anything.”
“W-W-Why are you doing th-this?” The girl stammers through trembling lips.
“Well it’s not out of love I can tell you that,” the old woman quips back quickly. “My love for this cockamamie trifle died a long time ago. You see love, back in the day this was the high point of the calendar, the moment everyone waited for. They’d treat me like a queen, bowing to my ever whimsical requests with speed, never once questioning any of it,” she says softly as she stares into the nothingness before her, then her face screws up and she drives the knife into a wooden table top. “Now I can’t ever request the simplest of things without a bunch of morons sitting me down and telling me why I can’t have what I need. It’s disgusting. Lord Balmore would be appalled if he was alive today,” she says with a soft smile on her face as she looks up at a large portrait of a distinguished gentleman with a stern look upon his face. “I meet him on more than one occasion, he knew how to treat a woman I can tell you that. The old bugger curled my toes and made me purr like a kitten.”
“W-W-What happened to him?”
The smile drops away and she looks over to the girl coldly. “He passed, like we eventually do, only he went before his time. He was such a great man and didn’t deserve to go the way he did.” She picks a cleaver up from the bench and flicks it along the steel, whilst looking the girl up and down, dissecting her in her mind. “Now tell me poppet, how is it that you ended up here before me?”
“D-D-Does it even matter?”
“Once you get to be as old as me, everything matters. All the little things you take for granted in your youth are the things that come back to haunt you in your final days. Now, tell me girl, what brought you here?”
She swallows and clears her throat. “I’ve never had much of anything, my parents were the same. It’s not that they didn’t get me the things I wanted, they sacrificed everything for me to have presents on my birthday and Christmas. It’s just, it was always a fight. When I had Sarah, I knew what my parents had done and I didn’t want my daughter to go through the same thing.” She says, tears running down her cheeks.
“So you saw this opportunity, this brass ring hanging before you as a way out of the slums of your otherwise pathetic life?”
“NO! NOT SORT OF!” The old woman snaps. “If you are to learn, if you are to be my replacement, you must be not only truthful with others, but you must be truthful with yourself. Now again, pick up the knife and do as I do.” The old woman commands, she quickly picks up the knife and holds it nervously in her hands. “Tight,” the old woman hisses. “Your grip must be tight, for human flesh to be prepared correctly, you must first cut it correctly.”